New Legislation Increases Maximum Fine for Animal Mistreatment

By Julia Rose

Published 07/23 2014 06:22PM

Updated 07/23 2014 11:14PM

Central New York will now see stronger and harsher penalties for the mistreatment of pets. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday increasing maximum fines for those caught harming animals.

The Governor's new legislation will increase the maximum fine from $200 to $1,000 for those who attempt to steal, harm or transport a pet that is not their own. Animal rights advocates say this is certainly a step in the right direction

A common complaint amongst central New York animal lovers is the state's outdated animal cruelty laws. Some say penalties are nothing more than a slap on the wrist and up until Wednesday, the maximum fine of $200 hadn't been updated since 1970.

"The laws are so outdated it's ridiculous and finally somebody up above sees that and is like ‘ok let's see what we can do to make this better,” says John Treen, Shelter Manager at the Stevens-Swan Humane Society.

Treen sees first-hand how badly animals can be mistreated and says New York State is finally moving in the right direction.

"It’s great that they're putting a maximum on it of $1,000 but I think it needs to be pushed more toward jail time and things like that than just a fine or a slap on the wrist right now,” said Treen.

Treen also says on top of the new legislation, he has seen a big improvement since Oneida County hired specially trained humane investigators.

"Since the county has hired the investigators out of Syracuse things have gone great, they take a lot of cases, they go through a lot of these cases and they handle it themselves and i think we're going somewhere with that people know there's somebody here to prosecute them for what they're doing,” said Treen.

The legislation also helps combat pet theft which the American Kennel Club says is becoming an increasing problem.

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